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Showing posts with label jellies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label jellies. Show all posts

Monday, May 3, 2021

Hanging Strawberry Moss Baskets- Vertical Gardening Technique


Vertical Strawberry Moss Basket
I came up with this idea as I embark on my first season of growing strawberries at home.  I wanted to test out more vertical growing techniques and so, I in turn wanted to have a successful harvest.  Moisture is a big part of that equation and moss is a perfect candidate to help retain a good balance.  I gathered moss in sizable clumps and used it to line the shelves of a shower caddy I purchased specifically for this project, because I wanted it to hang flush against any wall space outside and hang downward, not sprawl across the ground, using vital grow space.  I also wanted to protect it from the animals, so suspending it  seemed like the best method to implement my idea.  
The moss adds a beautiful and organic touch to my hanging basket, which I secure with twine on the backside, enclosing the moss to serve as containers to house the strawberry plants.  The end result is a very cute and functional work of edible art, worthy of sharing and a focal point for a small grow space.  I am excited to see how it progresses and I will certainly keep you posted.  I chose three different types of strawberries, two of which are touted as best for growing when using a hanging basket, Allstar and Quinault, I also use Ozark Beautys.  These are June bearing plants, but do not make a surplus of viney connections, which is not ideal for this type of vertical gardening.  If you have more tips for growing strawberries vertically, myself and other readers would certainly appreciate your feedback.  You may leave comments in the space below and I will also take questions, if you have any about assembling your very own moss 'growing' basket.  Happy Gardening, the sky's the limit, literally!


 


Saturday, March 20, 2021

Blueberry/Ginger/Bacardi Rum Jam: We Be Jammin'!

Today's feature is brought to you by an awesome sale on blueberries at our local Walmart. 12 oz. containers were on sale for $1 each.  This afforded me the opportunity to make a plethora of fruited goodies, namely jam.  I'd never made blueberry jam before and figured it was high time.  Following a successful venture with strawberries, creating a Mixed Berry Sake Jam w/Cardamom, a big hit with me and my family.  The recipe is super easy and relatively maintenance free, using my Ninja Foodi® and I was able to gift some of my family and friends their own special homemade goodies, it makes me feel good!  It pays to catch these impressive sales at local supermarkets and maximize on its benefits by canning and preserving for later.  With times as unpredictable as they are these days, every little bit helps, every deliciously sweet, fruity and spreadable bite!  I used Bacardi Rum for this recipe, but feel free to choose the brand of your own personal desire, I like to stick with the classics when cooking with alcohol. Don't worry, only the subtle spiced notes remain, not the booziness, so you can create memories that you can share with your kids after eating, unabashed and without the shame that sometimes comes along with a story starting with Bacardi Rum! Cheers!


 I'm by no means opposed to sugar and I know and respect its place in canning. I do however, feel that wonderful canned jams and jellies can be achieved with optimal yet reduced amounts.  This recipe provides a delightful and fruit forward spread and you will never miss the extra sugar! Try a heaping spoonful in your cottage cheese for a real treat or with the usual suspects like toast, English muffins or yeast rolls.  Breakfast, lunch or dinner, this JAM ROCKS!

Recipe:
8 -12 oz. containers of fresh blueberries, rinsed, picked through and examined for defectives
5 3/4 c. pure cane sugar
8 whole green cardamom pods
Juice and peel (without pith or white part) of 1 lemon
1 tsp. kosher salt or to taste
1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
1 shot bottle of Bacardi Rum 1 1/2 oz.
2 boxes fruit pectin, optional
Instructions:
Place all ingredients except vanilla extract in the Foodi on the warm setting and allow the fruit to macerate and marry for 5 hours.  Doing so will break the berries down slowly and help them keep their form, concentrating the delicious flavors and 'becoming' with little effort.  Stir periodically.
Once the berries have given up their liquids and are fragrance forward, turn the setting to  sear/saute and bring the berries up to gentle simmer.
Remove the cardamom pods!
Once the berries have reached your desired consistency, turn off the heat and add the pectin mixed with a little water.  
If you choose not to use the pectin, simply simmer the berries down until visibly reduced and it is a bit thicker in the vessel.  It will continue to thicken naturally as it cools and sets.
Stir until fully dissolved and transfer to hot sterilized jars.
Add the lids and place the jars on the counter to seal naturally over the course of the next day.
You will be able to tell if they have sealed, by the indentation in the top lid, it will be concave. 
Label and date your finished gems, I like to adorn the gifting ones with butcher's twine for a personal touch, but feel free to omit or decorate as desired.   
Your jam is ready to be stored or gifted, I did both.
Makes 12 -1/2 pint jars, plus some to enjoy now, just place the remainder in a clean and airtight jar with a lid.
Refrigerate for longest shelf life and best flavor.  Keep in mind, this version has about half the sugar as the regular versions, so it may be more susceptible to losing freshness faster after opening, not that it will hang around though, as my young teens say "It's Bussin"!, which translates to delicious!


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Smokinhotchef
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